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Grimsby Town Will Survive Despite ITV Digital!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 29/03/2002

GRIMSBY Town Football Club chairman Peter Furneaux has warned the Mariners could double their losses to more than £4-million if the ITV Digital deal falls through. And he said the club's 28-strong squad will have to bear the brunt of any losses in the wake of the cash crisis.

In a statement to the Grimsby Telegraph today, he assured fans the club will survive whatever it takes. Pledging to continue prudent financial management he said the club is carrying a £2.3-million loss from last season.

The new stadium at Great Coates is unaffected by the current financial problems as the £2-million expected in the TV deal would have gone directly into paying players' wages next season.

"We have a way to go yet before we get to panic stations, but it will affect the money paid to players."

The club faces having to cut its outgoings by £2-million which is half of the annual budget but he said: "We are not expecting that to happen. We are expecting it to be negotiated. It could be less money, but Grimsby Town will survive. The club had managed well before the ITV Digital deal and would continue to do so."

Players' wages had gone up an average of 60 per cent in the past two years. However Furneaux said : "Rather than cut the squad, the wages' bill would be cut."

".… We should not be going straight into Doomsday scenarios…."

"It's the same as a household budget. If you have a cut in income you have to look where you have to save money.

"We should not be going straight into Doomsday scenarios. Football has survived in Britain for ages before and we will survive after."

GTFC's PFA representative, David Smith, said the failure of the TV deal will have a massive impact on players at Grimsby with eight players, including himself, out of contract at the end of the season.

Smith said players were focused on the remaining games of the season. Some clubs could end up with smaller squads but he wanted to wait until a deal was finalised before commenting further.

Mr Furneaux urged fans to continue to attend the games and get Grimsby Town off the bottom of the league for club gates. Grimsby Town manages an average gate of 6,000, when the league average is 15,500.

"That will enable the club to be less dependent upon cash from TV deals." he said.

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